Co-parenting with a toxic ex

Co-parenting with a toxic ex

Here’s the sad reality: co-parenting with a toxic ex is damn near impossible. Even if you’re super flexible or firm. Regardless of how hard you try, all your attempts to “be the bigger person” will essentially fail. Psychos and co-parenting just don’t fit together. And the reason for that is quite simple. Co-parenting requires shared effort and intent.


Why co-parenting with a toxic ex will never work

When you consider the word “co” it translates to together, mutual, and in common. Toxic people don’t have the same goals as you. They can’t and don’t put their kid’s best interest before their own. Trying to co-parent with a toxic ex is like attempting to row a boat with just one oar. Even if you try your best, your boat will still go in circles, stopping only to sink eventually.


In the interest of your kid(s), it’s best to give them a relationship with both biological parents. But in this case, it isn’t a matter of co-parenting anymore, but rather Parallel Parenting.


The difference between co-parenting and parallel parenting

Co-parenting requires two devoted parents that aren’t together anymore but want to give their kids the best lives possible. They interact with each other and make shared decisions. Lines of communication here are wide open, and exes become friends for the sake of their children.


In the case where parents have high levels of conflict, parallel parenting is often a better choice. This is an arrangement where separated parents co-parent using disengaging from each other. They have limited direct contact since they’re unable to respectfully communicate with each other.


So how does Parallel Parenting work?

  • Parents that practice parallel parenting communicate on non-personal issues and handle it like business deals. Information about the child’s wellbeing is the only kind of discussions that they ever have.
  • Parallel parenting requires couples to never use their kids as messengers to communicate back and forth.
  • Should a change in the schedule be required, it is always done with a formal, written agreement.


When they practice parallel parenting, parents remain disengaged from each other but still stay close to their kid. Although they might still make joined decisions for big events such as medical procedures and education, day-to-day decisions are not shared.



What are the benefits of co-parenting with a toxic ex – a.k.a parallel parenting?

  • Kids feel a sense of security since they have a bond with both their parents.
  • They also adjust better into adulthood because they spent equal amounts of time with both their parents.
  • When they grow up and see their parents cooperating, kids are more likely to grow up with a healthier sense of self.
  • Kids that witness their parents cooperating are more likely to learn how to effectively resolve issues on their own.

By Seldean Smith

Seldean is a full-time single mom and avid contributor to the Kiddles website. Her hobbies include discovering awesome new places and spaces for kids and writing content that resonates with the hearts of other parents.

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